Archive for January, 2008

Dunkin & Tyler
January 26, 2008

Dunkin

Dunkin: 8-month-old German Shepherd mix

Tyler

Tyler: 6-month-old yellow lab mix

Bandit’s Place: 860-653-0558

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De-Claw Cats?
January 26, 2008

Question:

Is it still possible to adopt kittens from shelters that you plan to de-claw? I had heard that you would not be able to adopt if that was your plan.

Answer:

It depends on the shelter. De-clawing has been a hot topic among the rescue folks for as long as there have been rescues! There are two theories out there about de-clawing cats.

  1. It’s fine
  2. It’s incredibly cruel.

Let’s go through both: The first is that “it’s fine.” Basically, it involves taking the claw (usually the front) off the cat’s toes from about the last knuckle down (to put it in people terms). It’s pretty much an amputation of that last digit which involves the actual nail and bed. Since this is a very vascular area, there is a chance of bleeding so the cat is usually kept over-night and its feet are bandaged.
Benefits of this are that the owner no longer has to scream at the cat every time it goes to shred furniture (cloth or wood). We’ve had cats literally reduce molding around the doorways to splinters.

Draw-back: (depending on how you view this) is that the cat can NEVER be allowed outside as it has lost half (yep, only half) of its defense system. Folks say ALL defenses are lost but a cat does quite well holding with its front feet and shredding the skin off you with its back feet.

Theory No. 2 is that “it’s incredibly cruel.” Some say that de-clawing, docking tails and cropping ears is incredibly cruel as it serves no functional purpose. Period. The idea is that any surgical procedure done on a cat other than spaying/neutering is cruel and should not be done. The thought is that it causes unneeded pain and stress on the cat.

It is also believed that to de-claw a cat takes away its natural defenses (see my comments on that above).

So, to answer your question, it depends on the pound and their beliefs. Under all circumstances, I do feel that you should be completely honest with the shelter you’re dealing with. (We have ways of finding out if you lie!) If they object to de-clawing, ask if they have any cats that have already been de-clawed. Ask right up front what their beliefs are about de-clawing. If they’re against it and you have no issues with it, move on to another shelter that shares your viewpoint.

Autumn & Galaxy
January 19, 2008

Meet Autumn

Meet Galaxy

What kind of dog fits me?
January 19, 2008

Question: I know I want a dog but how do I know what kind?

Answer: It’s easy!!!

Step one – Get a pen and paper. You have homework to do! Think I’m kiddin? Read on!

Each member of the house gets a paper – No looking at anyone else’s answers! I want you to write down what YOU want out of a dog. Activity level, hair length, sex, size when grown, etc. Do you want a clingy dog or one who will ignore you? DETAILS!

Then, you write down YOUR activity level (OK, be honest here) – things you’d like to do with a dog (walk, jog, run, agility, hike, share the couch, etc.).

Then, compare notes with the rest of the family. Get a “general description” of what you’d like in a dog. Make sure everyone agrees on the final product so there will be no hurt feelings or mis-understandings.

Step two – Go to the library (whoo hoo! Field trip!). Get a dog book. I use “Encyclopedia of the Dog.” The books are usually classified into sections like “working class” or “toy class.” Look page by page at ALL the dogs, there should be descriptions of the dog’s size, temperament, compatibility with other dogs, kids, cats, etc. READ UP.

Narrow it down to a few who you and your family like.

Still not sure? Call a kennel club. I use South Windsor Kennel Club. They will get you in touch with a breeder if you’re interested in a specific breed but are not sure.

Step Three – Decide your family’s responsibility level. This will determine whether or not you start from a puppy or more of an adult. I specifically have not mentioned looking at puppies up until this point because …

A puppy is a puppy for ONLY about THREE months -– it then becomes a DOG for about 10 to 15 YEARS. PICK A DOG BASED ON WHAT IT WILL BE AS AN ADULT -– NOT BASED ON HOW CUTE IT IS AS A PUPPY!!!

Step Four – Go to Petfinder.com and plug in the breed you have found best suits your family. Then go look! Still like two different breeds? Look for a mix of BOTH!!!

Step Five – GO MEET THE DOG!

Things to Look For: The dog/puppy should make eye contact with you. It should be easily petted without freaking out. It should be basically comfortable with you and your family. If the dog does NOT approach you or your kids, it has NO INTEREST -– MOVE ON! Remember, kids can be SCARY to ANY dog -– so take that into account. A dog or puppy should LIKE YOU! If the dog or puppy jumps up and your kids freak, they’re not ready. DOGS AND PUPPIES JUMP UP.

ASK QUESTIONS!!! You will be living with this creature for MANY YEARS! You want to know this dog very well BEFORE you bring it home! Don’t feel dumb about asking questions -– I’ve been doing this 20 years and I STILL ask!!!

Owner Surrenders: OK, first things first: No owner gives up a perfectly behaved dog. Unless it’s a case where the dog was owned by a relative who died, moved or the owner has to move, etc., be suspicious.

ASK IF THE DOG HAS EVER BITTEN ANYONE. If they say no but you want to make sure, call the animal control officer in that town (via the police department) and ask!!! Basic premise? PEOPLE WILL LIE!!

ASK FOR THEIR VETERINARIAN’S NUMBER. CALL the vet to see if there are any aggression issues with this dog. Ask if the dog has been kept up to date with vaccinations, etc.

ASK HOW THE DOG IS WITH KIDS, CATS, OTHER DOGS … Even if you don’t have other dogs or cats, you want to know how they are anyway in case you’re out on a walk with Fido. You really don’t want to find out he HATES dogs when a neighbor’s dog comes to say “Hey,” and you end up flying across the roadway on your face being dragged by a snarling pooch.

ASK ASK ASK!!! Make a list of questions to ask the owner. IF the owner gets testy or seems to be guarding his/her answers, WALK AWAY!

Summary: This animal will be with you for MANY YEARS. You need to make SURE it’s a PERFECT FIT for your family.

GOT MORE QUESTIONS? E-mail me!!!

LostandPound@wfsb.com

Jan. 13: Rags, Buddy
January 14, 2008

“Rags” (Video) 8 years old, spayed female, Rottweiler/Labrador Retriever Mix

Rags is a very gentle, well-behaved older girl. She is looking for the retirement home of her dreams where she can laze around and sleep the day away. She is exceptionally friendly and loving. She has delicate hips and knees and is certainly feeling her age in her bones. She is best suited to an adult only home but will certainly enjoy the company of other animals provided they are quite and peaceful. She will need a family that will make a commitment to regular healthcare so that she can live out her remaining years in comfort. Come meet Rags at the Connecticut Humane Society (800-452-0114) located in Newington, CT.

“Buddy” (Video) 2 years old, altered male, domestic short hair

Buddy is the sweetest cat you’ll ever meet. He loves to snuggle and get attention with people of any age! He is very good with kids and certainly enjoys his playtime. He has special health needs as he is Feline Aids positive. With good healthcare, he can live a very full life. He must be an indoor cat only and cannot live with any other cats due to his condition. He is not a big fan of dogs so he asks that he be allowed to be the sole 4-legged king of your castle. You won’t be disappointment because he has a ton of love to share. Come meet Buddy at the Connecticut Humane Society (800-452-0114) located in Newington, CT.

I Really Want a Pet … I Think
January 14, 2008

  • Video

    Question: My kids have been bugging me to get a pet and I think that maybe I do want one, but I’m not sure.

    Answer: Ok, let’s look at a few points to help in the decision.

    What kind of time/money do you have to devote to a pet?

    A dog probably takes the most time and money. Through a dog’s lifespan (about 15 years) it can run you about $16,000. Dogs need regular exercise and need to be taken out for “potty time” every few hours, day and night.

    If your kids are bugging you for a dog and they say they will really, really, really take care of it. Try this trick: A friend’s kids wanted a dog. She was very, VERY smart! She gave them a stuffed dog and told them they had to care for it as if it was a real one. This included feeding twice daily, taking it out for walks and potty time, brushing it, training it, etc. She gave them a month and sat back and watched. IF the kids DO keep up with the responsibility, they’re ready.

    Are your kids old enough?

    Greeting cards will tell you there’s nothing like kids and puppies/kittens. Well, they’re in the card business, not the dog/cat business! They’re there to sell you cards based on the “oooooh” factor — The more they can get you to say “oooooh”, the more they can get you to buy their cards!

    Most rescues will NOT adopt out where there are children under 5 years old in the home, and some go as high as 8 years old. There’s good reason: NO puppy, kitten, dog or cat wants to get pulled on or tugged around by a child. And, there is NO child that I know of who enjoys being chewed on by those sharp puppy teeth or clawed by those cat claws!

    If the responsibility or time commitment of owning a dog seems too much, a cat might be the answer.

    Cats can be indoor or outdoor cats, or a combination of both. Cats require less time than a dog (no taking out for walks, etc.) but they still require grooming, veterinary care, litter box cleaning, etc.

    If it’s a cat that will be indoors only, it will need distractions so that it doesn’t shred furniture, draperies, doorways (I had one who shredded the wood all around my doorways), etc. If it’s an inside/outside cat, be prepared for “treats” from “the great hunter” left at your doorstep (or better, IN YOUR SLIPPERS — yep, been there, too!).

    So, while they do take less time, it’s up to you if a cat is right for you. They’re more independent than dogs, but they’re also a lot of fun to play with.

    Birds are also an option!

    Birds range from low maintenance to very high maintenance, depending on what kind you get. But they do require attention or the will DEMAND it! They can be awesome pets (I have a few and LOVE them). Make sure, though, that you read up on the bird you want to see if it is a good match for you.

    So, whatever level of ownership you AND your family are interested in, make SURE you READ UP on what type of pet you’re interested in. Remember, this will be a FAMILY pet and, therefore, ALL MEMBERS MUST BE ON BOARD to make it work!!!

    And remember, places like Toys-R-Us and K-B Toys sell these AWESOME stuffed critters that are VERY life-like, but the only maintenance they need is batteries!!!!

    Next week, we’ll cover picking out your new buddy!

  • Jan. 6: Manford, Adam
    January 7, 2008

    Manford

    MANFORD is a domestic, short-haired, neutered male who is grey and white. He is about 1 year old. He was found dirty, hungry and cold on the back porch of a volunteer’s house. He went unclaimed and walked right into the house when the door was opened. He is friendly, playful and curious. He is content to be inside and enjoys playing with other cats. He can play a little rough, but will stop when told to do so. He would do well with other non-aggressive cats or older kittens. He has not been exposed to kids or dogs yet. He has had all his shots and the vet says he is healthy. – Animal Friends of Connecticut (860-827-0381)

    Adam

    ADAM is a 4-month-old orange and white, domestic short-haired, neutered male kitten. He has three legs and is missing his left rear leg. The surgeon who examined him after he was found in the street by Hartford police believe that someone tied off the leg when he was 2 to 3 days old, causing the leg to atrophy and fall off. He has been with us for about two months and is very ready to be adopted. According to the shelter manager, Adam is shy for about 30 seconds, then is loving and wants to be petted. He is active and loves to run and can do anything that other kittens can do. After some initial shyness, he gets along well with other cats and kittens. He has never been exposed to children or dogs. He is well-behaved and litter-box trained. He has all his shots and appears to be healthy. – Animal Friends of Connecticut (860-827-0381)

    Meet Manford and Adam